Melbourne’s rooftop bar scene is brimming with little gems above sea level ready to be discovered. So, on a warm autumn evening, we grabbed some friends and made a map of rooftop bars to head to.
We visited some old faithful Melbourne faves, as well as some secret, tucked up spots you might not have heard of. We visited spacious havens that accentuated the city’s skyline, as well as ‘intimate’ urban settings you could rub shoulders with…well everybody. The main takeaway is Melbourne’s bar culture is worth exploring because there is something for everyone! Also, wear comfy shoes (and your fitbit) because rooftops = stairs.
First Stop: Transit Rooftop Bar
Sitting opposite Flinders St Station, Transit Rooftop Bar is a nice central location to kick off your Rooftop Bar Hop. Come for the possiblity of sharing cocktails (um, yes), stay for the perfect city views that span from Southbank to the MCG.
Stop 2: QT Melbourne Rooftop Bar
Definitely a special occasion spot; the bar dresscode is even cited as ‘dress to impress’ – but it is worth checking out just for one drink to check out some fun city views, people watch and see how the other half live.
Stop 3: The Carlton Club’s Palmz Rooftop Bar
If you haven’t spent a night stroking the furry wall at CBD fave The Carlton – are you even from Melbourne? Take some time to journey upstairs to the Palmz section of The Carlton to see the ritzy luxe decor from downstairs transform into a bamboo-riffic tiki style paradise that will insist you swap your basic beer order for a Mai Tai, stat.
Stop 4: Good Heavens
Blink and you’ll miss the entry to this gem, but that is definitely part of its appeal. Features an amazing bar line-up and super friendly staff that know their stuff when it comes to mixing spirits. If you’re getting peckish by now, Good Heavens, do these guys have a great food menu to munch on.
Stop 5: Madame Brussels
Known for its reputation as a “Rather Fancy Garden Party”, Madame Brussels will make you want to pull up your socks, have a sip of your Pimms drinkipoo and start dropping the word ‘swell’ into conversation. You might also feel the need to call your Nan after visiting…just go with it.
Stop 6: Loop Roof
Another hidden gem on our quest to quench the thirst, Loop Roof features fairy lights and a lighting feature that is reminiscent of the lane dividers in a swimming pool, but we loved it all the same. This place can get quite busy (which begs the question – how did so many people find out about this place?) but the city views are worth the squishy setting.
Stop 7: Bourke Street Imperial Rooftop
Now, this place is stylish. The kind of venue you could bring out-of-towners to show off Melbourne’s delights, or take your parentals to show them you’re a functioning human being. Sitting at the top of Bourke and Spring Street you will feel on top of the world! And even better if you can get your hands on a glass of their beautiful frosé!
Stop 8: Siglo
Another spot to mark for the special occasions calendar, Siglo rooftop sits above the Supper Club and offers stunning views with an old time, classic charm – including the vintage signage on the exposed brick walls alongside the balcony. Ask the bartenders here what they recommend, they know their stuff.
Stop 9: Red Hummingbird
As your adventure rolls on, you will no doubt need a break from some of the hustle and bustle rooftops you’re visiting. Cue Red hummingbird, your inner city oasis away from the urban jungle. A brilliantly relaxed atmosphere and impressive cocktail list will leave you blissed out and ready for the next stop.
Stop 10: Cookie Rooftop
The self-described Beer hall, eating house and disco; Cookie delivers on all three as make your way up all those stairs to get to one of Melbourne’s best known Rooftop Bars. Good for day or night time adventures, Cookie is a must-stop for any Melbourne dweller.
Stop 11: Whitehart Bar
If there is one thing Melbourne loves just as much as a Rooftop bar, it’s a bar made from a container. Newcomer Whitehart delivers on both fronts; formerly a carpark, the space was converted recently into an urban industrial paradise with graffiti and giant wall projections. Worth the visit.
Final Stop: Campari House
It’s nice to finish on familiar ground, and Campari House is another Rooftop institution. Offering a setting that is so utterly Melbourne, anyone would feel right at home. Another location with a brilliant cocktail menu – go on, spoil yourself! You made it to the end. Hell, order a pizza too – you’ve earned it.